Over the past year, I have published as little as I have since nearly the start of the 21st century. But it has been one of my most fulfilling years as a writer.
Category: Life (Page 1 of 8)
It was August 11, 2018, according to my journal, that I made the decision to put aside the non-fiction book I started working on and dive into trying to write my first novel.
On Sunday — 51 weeks later — I reached the halfway point of the rough draft.
Just to put that in perspective, my first book on the Dodgers, from conception to completion, took about six months. My second Dodger book, took about nine, mostly accomodating the interviews I wanted to do.
Those books came with deadlines, and deadlines haunt you like shadows. You can hide, but you can’t outrun them. So there was no choice but to stay up late, wake up early and give over massive amounts of free time to getting those books done.
But still – a year in, I’m only halfway through a draft that will need heavy rewrites. Why am I doing this to myself?
As long as enough people continue to prioritize hate and blame over love and equality, we won’t get anywhere.
As long as enough people continue to prioritize a will for power over a will for peace, we won’t get anywhere.
I feel like we won’t get anywhere.
We all have the ability to embrace the other. People need to choose to do it.
Our leaders need to set an example.
Our citizens need to stop nursing their grievances into blood feuds.
Stop closing your fist and open your heart.
I have been walking one or more of my children to that school since 2007. Today was the last day.
This wouldn’t matter so much if those seven-minute walks hadn’t been my favorite moments to be alive.
So many times in my life, I’ve heard how Major League Baseball players should be happy they’re getting paid to play a kids game.
Baseball is not a kids game. Baseball is a game, that kids happen to play, that can be unspeakably joyous, but that is almost punishingly adult.
Monday, I ordered a salad for lunch, because I wanted to eat something healthy.
I know when I do this, there are choices. I can ask for light dressing or dressing on the side, in order to combat the otherwise nearly inevitable flooding. That’s what most civilized people are forced to do.
Every so often, however, I test the better angels of my nature and order a salad without any specifics on the dressing, to see if a place can achieve what should be a simple equilibrium on its own. Monday was another try. Sure enough, the salad came with so much dressing that not only was each piece within just soaked, there was a thin liquid layer at the bottom of the To Go container. (Carry-out places should be particularly wary of this issue.)
But why do I have to do this? Why do stores and restaurants err so often on the side of too much, when you can’t remove dressing, instead of too little, when you can always add dressing?
While slurping my leafy lunch, I put a poll on Twitter: For salad orders where you don’t give instructions on the dressing, which is more common?
- Too much dressing
- Not enough dressing
I expect the results to rally America into solving this problem in the food services industry once and for all. Instead came this abomination …
This won’t be a big deal to many people — certainly not in comparison to something like the recent anniversary celebration of The Sopranos — but today marks the 20th anniversary of the night that the Disney Channel show So Weird premiered.
It’s a doubly major milestone for me, because it was the biggest break in what was then my screenwriting career — I wrote four episodes and shared credit on a fifth — but the premiere party on Sunset Boulevard was also the first official date for me and my future wife.
Last summer, I talked about those experiences and more when I did an episode of The So Weird Podcast. I never posted that here, but today’s a good day for it. It’s a fun listen if a) you were a So Weird fan or b) are interested in the career experiences of the Jason Grabowski of screenwriters.
So Weird, I truly believe, deserves a more popular legacy than it has gotten. I mean, it’s certainly not The Sopranos, but it was a Disney Channel show with uncommon depth, willing to take on real life issues but in an imaginative, non-Afterschool Special way. It remains one of the greatest work experiences of my career, one that I’m forever grateful for even if it was relatively short-lived. (Fortunately, my marriage continues to be renewed season after season.) And, aside from the technology changes since the pre-Y2K era, I think it holds up. (Same.)
I even got to write an episode set largely on a ballfield, which remains near and dear to my heart. I’ll put it up against The Sandlot anyday …
Anyway, there’s no way you’ve read this far if you didn’t like me and/or the show, so if you have, join me in an anniversary toast …
Hi everyone. I didn’t have a regular posting schedule on Dodger Thoughts this year, so I thought I might recap my highlights from the year. Thanks for reading!
The Thirty Years War (January 24)
Baseball Toaster: A quick but fond remembrance (February 2)
***NEW BOOK ALERT***
Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (February 5)
Bringing back the Miracle
on Ice — and on VCRs (February 11)
So, what am I doing? (February 14)
Why I stand proudly against the serial comma (February 17)
No … just, no … (February 27)
Andre Ethier waits at the gate (February 27)
Presenting the heart-stopping, game-dropping, low-flying, win-defying, mental-lapsing, season-collapsing, legendary 2005 Los Angeles Dodgers (May 14)
The better angels of our Twitter (July 16)
Baseball has its day in the son (July 21)
The worst play in baseball: The walkoff balk (August 4)
Street cleaning seems bogus, right? (August 7)
Why baseball defies your expectations (September 3)
Clayton Kershaw and the value beyond a World Series (September 20)
Thoughts about John Smoltz, in five parts (October 24)
The Dodgers, Dave Roberts and the human element (November 7)
A writer’s happy journey sideways in 2018 (December 31)
Wishing you the best for 2019 …
My favorite piece that I wrote this year was “Baseball has its day in the son,” the story of how my 10-year-old developed a new interest in following baseball in unlikely circumstances.
“A modest thing, but thine own,” as Vin Scully liked to say. I felt I adapted a uniquely personal moment into a story that could be meaningful to total strangers, while keeping the true feeling intact.
Aside from the happy memories of the moment itself, it was a story that energized me, making me believe that a non-fiction, non-baseball book I had been sketching, one that I alluded to 10 months ago, could actually work, not in the sense of being any kind of bestseller, but simply in the hopes of being something to someone.
As much as the Dodgers are part of my soul, they have never been the only part. Amid all the pleasure I enjoyed from the publication of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition, I have been wanting to stretch myself as a writer. The piece about my son, along with several others like it in my history at Dodger Thoughts that revolved around life more than baseball, convinced me that I wasn’t crazy to write a sustained narrative devoted to what was right in front of me.
Less than a month later, those plans were on the shelf.
This marks my 16th summer of being a dad and my 11th with three kids in the posse. Despite my love of the game, the complete lack of interest from any of my descendants in watching baseball has been a defining aspect of my parenthood, leading me to firmly give up on the prospect of it ever happening.
Tonight was the annual FamFest outdoor movie at 10-year-old Youngest Master Weisman’s school. That meant I could not be in front of the television during tonight’s Dodger game. I could not be in front of the television.